Discovery of the tomb of priest Kaires

Related Articles

Related Articles

The Czech Institute of Egyptology of the Faculty of Arts at the Charles University has discovered a unique burial complex of the royal confidant and priest Kaires within the Abusir pyramid field.

The tomb is located in the heart of the pyramid field of the 25th and 24th centuries BC (The reign of the 5thDynasty during the Old Kingdom) in an area normally only assigned for members of the royal family and state dignitaries.

The complex of Kaires extends over an area of over 500 m, and besides the tomb itself, contains several other rooms which served for the funerary cult and the ritual purification of the priests before they could enter the tomb.

 

The cult chapel represents a completely unique architectural feat of the entire 3rd millennium BC, as it was paved with basalt blocks. The use of basalt was an exclusive privilege of the kings and its presence here is one of several pieces of evidence of the exceptional status of the tomb owner. Unfortunately, only a few pieces of the cultic stela with the owner’s titles, the so-called false door, have been preserved to present times.

The burial chamber of Kaires was looted in antiquity, but next to the limestone sarcophagus his granite statue has been preserved in its original location. The tomb was built in an open pit in which the sarcophagus would have been lowered down inside. The walls were then lined with limestone blocks and the chamber closed by several giant ceiling blocks of limestone, each of which weighs at least 8–9 tons.

Complete granite statue of Kaires detail (c) Czech Institute of Egyptology, Faculty of Arts, Charles University

Kaires was the overseer of the Pharoahs state works and had an impressive resume of titles and responsibilities that includes:

  • Keeper of the secret of the Morning House
  • Steward of the royal palace
  • Steward of the House of Life
  • Inspector of the priests serving in the pyramid complexes of kings Sahure and Neferirkare
  • Priest of the goddess Hatho
  • Custodian of the two thrones (i.e. of southern and northern Egypt)

The Morning House was a specific location, where the king would come in the morning to eat breakfast and get dressed, whereas the House of Life was an institution, where Egyptians stored texts recorded on papyrus scrolls containing their knowledge and religious-philosophical treatises.

The excavation works have been proceeding in close cooperation with the Ministry of Antiquities of the Arab Republic of Egypt and the Inspectorate of Antiquities in Saqqara.

Czech Institute of Egyptology

Header Image – Burial chamber with a sarcophagus (c) Czech Institute of Egyptology, Faculty of Arts, Charles University

 

Download the HeritageDaily mobile application on iOS and Android

More on this topic

LATEST NEWS

Camulodunum – The First Capital of Britannia

Camulodunum was a Roman city and the first capital of the Roman province of Britannia, in what is now the present-day city of Colchester in Essex, England.

African Crocodiles Lived in Spain Six Million Years Ago

Millions of years ago, several species of crocodiles of different genera and characteristics inhabited Europe and sometimes even coexisted.

Bat-Winged Dinosaurs That Could Glide

Despite having bat-like wings, two small dinosaurs, Yi and Ambopteryx, struggled to fly, only managing to glide clumsily between the trees where they lived, according to a new study led by an international team of researchers, including McGill University Professor Hans Larsson.

Ancient Maya Built Sophisticated Water Filters

Ancient Maya in the once-bustling city of Tikal built sophisticated water filters using natural materials they imported from miles away, according to the University of Cincinnati.

New Clues Revealed About Clovis People

There is much debate surrounding the age of the Clovis - a prehistoric culture named for stone tools found near Clovis, New Mexico in the early 1930s - who once occupied North America during the end of the last Ice Age.

Cognitive Elements of Language Have Existed for 40 Million Years

Humans are not the only beings that can identify rules in complex language-like constructions - monkeys and great apes can do so, too, a study at the University of Zurich has shown.

Bronze Age Herders Were Less Mobile Than Previously Thought

Bronze Age pastoralists in what is now southern Russia apparently covered shorter distances than previously thought.

Legio IX Hispana – The Lost Roman Legion

One of the most debated mysteries from the Roman period involves the disappearance of the Legio IX Hispana, a legion of the Imperial Roman Army that supposedly vanished sometime after AD 120.

Popular stories

Legio IX Hispana – The Lost Roman Legion

One of the most debated mysteries from the Roman period involves the disappearance of the Legio IX Hispana, a legion of the Imperial Roman Army that supposedly vanished sometime after AD 120.

The Secret Hellfire Club and the Hellfire Caves

The Hellfire Club was an exclusive membership-based organisation for high-society rakes, that was first founded in London in 1718, by Philip, Duke of Wharton, and several of society's elites.

Port Royal – The Sodom of the New World

Port Royal, originally named Cagway was an English harbour town and base of operations for buccaneers and privateers (pirates) until the great earthquake of 1692.

Matthew Hopkins – The Real Witch-Hunter

Matthew Hopkins was an infamous witch-hunter during the 17th century, who published “The Discovery of Witches” in 1647, and whose witch-hunting methods were applied during the notorious Salem Witch Trials in colonial Massachusetts.